Over the years we have had success rattlin and gruntin’ for bucks.  When the rut is going full blast, both of these methods work well.  See my November 10, 2008 post “]Rattled In]”, in this one Brad and I successfully rattled up and shot a nice buck.

Thursday afternoon, a week ago, 2 of my Grandson’s, Colton Mitchell and Wesley Culbertson, and I decided to have a go at rattlin’ up a buck.  Even though it’s well into the third round of doe coming into estrus, we hoped that we could entice a buck to our simulated sparring match.  Based on personal sightings and game cam photos we believed that the tripod stand in the extreme, southwestern corner of the ranch would be the best spot to weave our, hopeful, web of intrigue.

The brush is real thick in our part of Central Texas, so for last Thursday’s rattlin’ we chose a tripod stand, cut back into an oak motte.  This was our choice because the area below the stand offered Wesley, the cameraman and me, the rattler, the most cover.  Colton, already 17, and restricted no longer to hunting only with an adult, had the topside perch in the stand.  He would be the shooter.

Before watching the video, there is one important thing to notice, the tips of the horns have been rounded off!  Deer horns are very hard and if the ends aren’t taken care of, it could result in some very painful ‘nicks to hands and fingers!  I bear witness to this remark!

As the video plays, I start it off with a few grunts and then the horns clash.  During the “fight”, simulating the bucks thrashing around, I disturb the ground with my legs and the horns.  The elapsed time of the “fight” can vary.  Early in the year, when the rut first begins, a mere touching of the horns could be sufficient to lure out a bashful buck, but as the season progresses and things get serious, really clanking them together may be necessary.

After the feeder went off and during our rattlin’ the doe came in to feed.  The rattlin’ and gruntin’ didn’t run them off, they just seemed to kinda’ squat down a little, looked around, then resumed feeding.  They seemed not to mind the “boys” making a little racket over them!

We rattled 5 times during our 1-1/2 hour hunt, and no, we didn’t get a buck, but we had a lot of fun and the boys learned something!  We gotta’ be sure and pass these things on!

Sighting In

On Monday, I decided to shoot my .17 HMR, then I thought to myself Since I hadn’t shot the new rifle since I sighted it in why not check it out?  The new one, a .243, hasn’t been exposed to any hunts, yet, but it’s lightweight and from the sight in, handles quite well and shoots where you hold it!

First up was my .17 HMR and from 50 yards I put all 15 shots in the 10 ring.  Of course, I forgot to take my camera along, so no picture.

Next up, and last, was the new .243.  Having sighted it in at 100 yards, I held on the red dot and here are the results.

On my way out to hunt Monday afternoon, I walked by the shooting range and took this picture of the grouping.

I musta’ pulled off on one, but still not bad shooting for an old guy!

More Outdoors Pictures, December 27, 2010

In Mills county, Texas, over the Christmas holidays, the bucks were still moving around.  James Crumley sent me this picture of his Son and a ten pointer, with several broken tines, that he bagged on Christmas Eve Afternoon, while still hunting along a beautiful, seasonal draw.  Crumley’s ranch borders mine along County Road 408 and is a real nice place!

Not to be outdone James’ other son, also while still hunting on Christmas Afternoon, bagged this buck that James says, “May be the biggest one shot on his place in a long time!”  This one looks kinda’ funny since it appears not to have any brow tines, but the tines have been broken off right at hide level.  Must have been a big fight!

Talking about big fights, on November 23rd, one of my game cams took this “shot” of another nice buck that has some major damage done to one of his antlers.  Unless later, he also broke off his brow tines, this probably isn’t the big one shot by James’ son.

These bucks have been doing some serious fighting!

Merry Christmas

Today we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Remember, we aren’t celebrating the brightly wrapped packages, the steaming Christmas dinners or the sumptuous deserts, but we are celebrating Jesus’ birth!

Jesus lived and died on the cross for each of us, so that by our acceptance of Him as our personal savior, we may have eternal life! If you haven’t received Jesus, ask Him into your heart today!

Layla and I wish everyone a very, Merry Christmas!

We have just had one of the best Christmas presents possible, our prayers answered by a good rain wrapped in thunder and lightning, to quench our drought stricken countryside! I imagine that the rain was better than one inch, but I couldn’t measure it because the accompanying wind blew the rain gauge down!

More Outdoors Pictures, December 23, 2010

The game cam took some unusual “shots” on the 9th and 10th of December.

The first one, on the 9th at 7:17 AM, was this nice buck, checking out 3 doe around the feeder.

Then a minute later, another doe walks up, but the buck isn’t interested in them and walks off.

The most unusual was just at sunup on the 10th, Mickey Donahoo saw this nice, shootable, buck, maybe the one from the day before.   Mickey was well hidden in a tripod stand tucked into the tallest oak tree on the right. That day, see my December 11, 2010 post, “[The Annual Doe Hunt]”, I had told Mickey, that if he saw a good buck, go ahead and shoot it, but he declined this shot, waiting for a nice size, doe.  The leg of the feeder hides the buck’s antlers, but Mickey said he was a nice one!

Then late in the afternoon of the 10th, the melanistic deer that I have several pictures and a video of, shows up around the feeder.

On the evening of December 13th, Mickey shot another doe, completing our “Annual Doe Hunt”.  It makes two for this season and I’ve only seen one spike so now the Grandkids need to get busy on a couple of more doe.

Come to think of it, I haven’t seen the spike in several weeks.  I wonder?

More Outdoors Pictures, December 21, 2010

Success finally arrived! Randy guided me through attaching a video to my blog, after I had succeeded Sunday afternoon in posting the video on YouTube. The above video was taken late last week on a camera hunt and shows two yearling deer. The one on the right is the semi-melanistic deer, normal deer markings with the black upsides that happened to show up in another picture, see “[More Outdoors Pictures]”, December 10, 2010.

The yearling on the left apparently has picked up my scent since the wind was blowing directly off of me. Having used a scent blocker, it looks like it kinda’ worked since the little deer finally went to browsing.

This was a great step forward for me in my technical pursuits!

More Deer Sign

During the rut and on into the season, rubs can be made by aggressive bucks strengthening their neck muscles or just marking out their home territory. A buck’s forehead gland will leave a scent that lets other deer know who made it.

Around here right now, bucks are active and trying to find doe that weren’t bred during the first estrus cycle, so the fresh rubs that I found last Saturday, the 11th, are probably from an aggressive buck, marking out his home territory. My October 15, 2010 post, “[Sign]” showed a lot of preseason activity that has carried on late into this season.

Deep gouges like this usually means a real wall hanger and the big buck that I saw on the 12th certainly fit the bill for aggression!

These rubs were in a roughly, straight line for over 400 yards and not wanting to leave too much human scent around, I didn’t pursue them any farther.

Having already “punched” my buck tag, now, I’m into video. After videoing my hunt Tuesday afternoon, I still don’t know how to post them to my blog, but I’ll find out how to, soon.

Pilot Error

Tim, Mickey and I all went hunting on Saturday morning, the 11th with visions of us bagging a couple of fat doe. Well before sun up, we all loaded on to my tractor and took Tim to Ma-Maw’s blind. He saw several doe but couldn’t get a good shot with his black powder rifle.

Mickey and I tractored over to a good parking place, left the tractor and proceeded to walk into the tree stand on the back of the property. Having successfully walked into this stand many times during darkness, not this time! We tromped around in the thick stuff and couldn’t even come close to the stand, so before we totally messed everything up, I parked Mickey in a tripod stand nearby. We must have totally messed everything up because Mickey didn’t even see a deer.

Not so for me. Climbing into the corner, tripod blind, I made a lot of noise and was sure this would scare all the deer off. Added to the noise, the previous morning, Mickey had been in this stand, had shot a nice doe and cleaned it close by. Where he did the cleaning a big, bloody spot was still evident. These actions didn’t stop the deer because at sun up, a yearling walked up and began feeding.

Then, as the pictures show and I’m sure the game cam in the back will too, two more joined in, then three, then four, then a big, old doe came out, and not hearing Mickey shoot, I decided to take this one. Raising my rifle, the metal clasp on the sling brushed against the stand rail and whoosh, the deer were gone. A bad case of pilot error!

The entire morning wasn’t good, I should’a made a video of the deer, but as my Dad once said, “If you got something every time you went out, it would be called shooting instead of hunting!”

Something Was Missing

Last Friday morning’s deer hunt, “[The Annual Doe Hunt]”, was exciting, we supplied a needy family with meat for a year, but something was missing. We saw a lot of deer, shot a nice doe, saw two big bucks and I wrote a post about it all, but something was missing. What was missing?

The thing that was missing was video, my camera will take video, but I was frozen on the deer that I saw, they’d spied me, I did turn on the camera, but it automatically turned itself off. Friday morning I needed a cameraman!

What cemented video and the application of it, was an e-mail conversation that I had last week with a representative of VERSUS Country. On Disk Satellite they’re on channel 151 and their show will come on this Friday night, 7:00 PM CST. He even sent me a funny clip by Benny Spies, “[Holiday Merchandise]”. It’s good stuff!

Last Friday night I was able to watch the shows on VERSUS Country because my Grandson’s Team, The Goldthwaite Eagles, State semi-finals playoff game, was Saturday evening. They overwhelmed a huge, Garrison team, 35-7. Garrison was the biggest high school football team that I’ve ever seen! They looked like a college team running on to the field! I’ll get to watch this Friday night’s shows too because Saturday at noon, the Eagles take on Mart for the Class 1A, State championship. Earlier in the season, by a scheduling quirk, the Eagles trailed Mart 23-7 at the half, but came back to beat ‘em 29-27! It should be some game!

Using “You Tube” I can post videos, but that won’t put any meat on the table. Maybe Layla will volunteer to be my cameraman? Maybe for the rest of this season I’ll just try to video the deer? Maybe the big deer knew that I’d punched my buck ticket already?

Yesterday, Mickey and I went out to bag another doe and this was a perfect spot for me to do a video clip of the hunt, however, I forgot the camera!

Money Saving Tips

On November 5, the day before deer season opened, I went down to Mills County General Store, and bought me a new .243 rifle. It was a Remington, Model 770. Back in 1978 I bought Randy a Remington 660 in .243, caliber. He has killed over 30 deer with it and it has served him well. In fact his two oldest sons, Austin and Sean have used it successfully to score their first kills. This story is highlighted in my November 13, 2009 post, “[Like Father, Like Sons]”.

Back to my new rifle, I took it out to my range and at 25 yards it put 1 high and 1 low and right away, I knew something wasn’t right. That something was the scope and for some reason it was loose. Taking it back to the General Store, they fixed it, now, between deer season and high school football and basketball, I’ve finally carved out some time, hopefully, to get the new rifle sighted in.

Sunday afternoon, after a lunch of chicken fajitas, guacamole, sweet tea and plenty of hot sauce, I took the new rifle out to my range and sighted it in, however, using all of my bullets, and with my 100 grain, BTSP being back ordered, I’ll have to buy some “store” bullets. I’ll order these tomorrow from [The Sportsman’s Guide], with them having a very competitive price and a good selection of [rifle ammunition]!

Here’s a pic of me sighting in the rifle. Notice the sack of corn under the rifle. The corn gives as good stability as a fancy gun holder and costs less than $6.00 and, price performance wise, it’s hard to beat that deal! Looks like 2 money savings tips to me.